Dear Black Parents, You Need To Stop Doing These 13 Things

Dear Black Parents, You Need To Stop Doing These 13 Things

8. Perceiving dissenting opinions as disrespect.

We all know there are fundamental differences between raising black children and raising white children. But black parents really do some of the most bizarre and damaging things. Here is an incomplete list of things black parents really need to stop doing to their children.

1. Requiring us to contribute financially while we are still in our teen years and early twenties.

Many black parents, especially, encourage their children to start working as soon as they are the legal age too. That in itself is not usually a problem.

Where the issue comes in is when black parents funnel most, if not all, of their children income into their own. My first year out of high school was also my first year working, my mother took every last penny I made. I wasn't able to save. Not for a car, not for college, not for new clothes. Nothing.



2. Using public embarrassment as punishment.

We've all seen those viral photos of black parents giving their sons the "old man haircut," when they've gone to school and showed their ass by trying to "act grown" and they are hilarious... on the surface.

SEE ALSO: Having A Mental Illness Is So Much Different When You're Black

But public humiliation not only makes your child a target for bullying but can cause undue stress and lead to low self-esteem. Whatever happened to just spanking, sending us to bed without dinner or taking away our electronics for a weekend?

3. Threatening our lives.

First of all, it's counterproductive. Second of all, it's emotional abuse. If a husband did it to a wife, everyone would tell her to get out of the marriage. If someone did it to a co-worker, they'd probably be terminated, best case.

Worst case, the police would be called. So, why is it less harmful to do it to your own child?

4. Beating and physically abusing us.

Discipline is a big thing in black households. Belts, switches and big ass spoons are very familiar to the rear ends of many black children.

But some parents take it too far. I can remember at one point growing up my mom forcefully dragging me out of the car kicking and screaming and leaving me on the side of the road in the middle of the night for not responding to her in a conversation quick enough. Then when I finally made it home after a 10-minute walk, throwing a glass at my head upon walking through the door.

Was this really justified?

Now, spanking is one thing. A belt to the back of the legs is one thing. But beating your child is an entirely different animal. It's abuse. Stop teaching us that love and physical pain go hand in hand.

5. Discouraging us from pursuing the arts.

While the arts can oftentimes be a hard business to get into, it can also be very lucrative. Whether it's singing, writing, or directing, there are tons of avenues into the business, especially in 2017. Not to say you shouldn't encourage a backup plan, but life is too short and too sad to stand in the way of your children's creativity or dreams.

6. Partaking in homophobia and encouraging violence towards the LGBTQ community.

Homophobia is rampant in the black community, especially for the Caribbean community. This is something that probably won't change for a long while seeing as how the traumatic roots of black homophobia can be traced back to slavery.

SEE ALSO: 10 Things Black Kids Experience Growing Up In White Communities

However, this isn't so to say that the way the black community, in general, treats the LGBTQ community is at all justified. Many black people use the Bible to spread hate as if God didn't specifically tell us to love our neighbors as ourselves and leave all judgment to Him.

You don't have to condone the feelings others have about their own sexuality, you just need to mind your business.

7. Not allowing us to have emotions.

Black children are often not allowed to have emotions other than happiness or contentment about anything. The slightest of emotions are often shut down. In fact, black parents love to compete with their children. "Oh, you cryin' cus you scraped your knee? Boy, get up! I'm cryin' cus I got all these bills!"

And God forbid you slam a door out of anger.

8. Perceiving dissenting opinions as disrespect.

Black children really aren't allowed to have opinions outside of their parents' opinions.

Point. Blank. Period.

And bless your heart if any of your opinions on religion don't reflect those of your parents. There's no way you don't know this stifles your child's mental growth. It's one thing to want to shape your children, but what happens when they grow and realize they have no sense of self and can't get one because they have like zero original thoughts?

9. Not allowing us to have any personal space.

I wish I could have said the words "personal space" in my mom's house. There is nothing wrong with giving your children some alone time with their thoughts. You know you need it to stay sane, why would you assume your children don't?

10. Continuously using explicit language.

You have to know children watch everything you do and repeat everything you say. Set an example.

11. Pretending that you're never wrong and not apologizing when you are, in fact, dead wrong.

One thing every black millennial knows is that black parents don't apologize... for anything. Literally, nothing is their fault, ever. And there is not one time in the history of their life as a parent that they have ever been wrong.

A black mom could leave a pot on the stove, burn down the entire block and then have the nerve to blame her children for asking for some Easy Mac. Often times growing up, my mom would jump the gun and punish me for something I didn't do and upon realizing I was an innocent party, just go on living life like she didn't just mollywop my edges off. Just say sorry, sometimes.

12. Making us call everyone auntie or uncle.

Everyone is not our auntie or uncle and you really should be more careful about who you let around your children. Which leads me to my final point...

13. Ignoring sexual abuse and shaming your daughters.

That inappropriate cousin that flirts with all the ladies (including blood relatives) is nasty and should really not continuously be invited to family gatherings where children are present and you know it. Those uncles that you have that make you feel like you need to tell your teen daughters to put on longer pants or cover up with a jacket are predators and should not be invited to the house.

And when your daughter tells that your husband makes her sit on his lap when they are alone together, believe her.

She did not seduce your man and he needs to be in jail.


Feel free to add any that I have missed in the comment section below.

Cover Image Credit: Nathaniel Tetteh

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To My Parents

Thank you for providing me with such a fun and memorable childhood

As I am about to start my second semester of freshman year, I am very thankful for all that my parents have done for me. They were my rock as I navigated through the ups and downs of the first semester. Without their help, I definitely would not be able as successful. Being over 2000 miles away from them is so hard.

My parents are first-generation immigrants from China. They worked tirelessly to get where they are today. They never gave up no matter how difficult times were. All they wanted was to allow my sister and me to have experiences they never had while growing up. They did everything in their power to ensure that our lives were not as hard as theirs and always put us first. They have made countless of sacrifices.

They taught me everything they knew and provided us with every opportunity to expand our knowledge by signing us up for dozens of extracurricular activities. During all of these, they were my unwavering support system. Even when I was ready to accept defeat and did not believe that I could do it, they motivated and continued to believe in me.

My parents were very involved in every aspect of my life. While I was growing up, they were very overprotective and strict at times. Occasionally, they could be a bit too overbearing but it was only because they wanted what was best for me. Sometimes, I would disagree with them but in the end, I discovered that they are always right. If I had listened to them the first time, I would have saved so much time and effort.

Each inspires me in different ways. My mom is very strong, determined and genuinely kind. On the other hand, my dad is very independent, brave, and caring. From my mom, I learned how to take care of myself and others. From my dad, I learned how to be resilient and face obstacles with grace and confidence.

My values are because of them.

They instilled in me my work ethic and perseverance. They taught me to always put myself first and never give up. During my childhood, I was definitely not spoiled. Everything I wanted, I had to work for.

In addition, they taught me how important it was to connect to my roots. Almost every summer, they brought my sister and me back to China. During our one-month stay, we visited our relatives and explored the country. I had the chance to improve my Chinese and learn more about my culture. Even though they immigrated to America over twenty years ago, my parents are very proud of their heritage. At home, they speak Chinese to us to try to maintain a connection to the Chinese culture. We also celebrate all the traditional Chinese holidays such as Chinese New Year.

They have successfully combined both American and Chinese traditions and holidays to allow us to have the best of both worlds.

Most importantly, I want to thank them for providing me with such a fun and memorable childhood. It was filled with so much joy and laughter. I will be forever grateful for everything they have done for me and my sister. Mom and Dad, thank you!

Cover Image Credit: Tingting Bi

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A Letter From My Father, 4 Years Later

Never take your time for granted.

My father is a lot of things. He's kind and patient. He loves others well. He is a skilled leader and communicator. He's humble and carries himself with a sense of humor that is contagious.

He is first and foremost devoted to his family and Christ. He is a hard worker and a patient person. He has a way with words that touches many people's hearts.

And so, there is a multitude of people that look up to my dad for those very reasons.

I am one of them. So, you probably know that I hold my Father's opinion, trust, love, and advice in the highest regard.

My dad has always been known for his speeches or letters that he has written upon special occasions in our family life or his work events, as he is very sentimental person and is in touch with his feelings regarding the things he values most.

Consequently, over the years I have accumulated a series of letters and notes from my dad.

A few days ago, I came across a birthday note I received from my dad via email while my brother and I were traveling Europe following our high-school and college graduations. I was turning 18 and getting ready to move away to college, and my dad recognized that this was a major life transition for him, my mom, and I (especially since I was the youngest and my parents were about to become empty nesters),

Me? I didn't foresee all the change that was headed my way. The good or bad.

But coming across this letter he wrote me almost four years later really hit home for the way I've been feeling lately as a senior in college.

He knew our lives were going to change, and he voiced how crucial of a role college was going to play in my life.

Guess what? He was right.

So, I hope after reading the letter he wrote to me that you recognize how valuable words are years later. And how crucial it is to realize what you have while you've got it because life has a way of throwing unexpected change at you.

"Anna -
It’s already your birthday in Denmark, but not yet here in Huntsville. Happy Birthday, Sweetie!! I am so proud to be your Dad, miss you like crazy, but am thrilled that you’re spending your 18th birthday on a trip of a lifetime with your cool brother. For my 18th birthday, I went to Captain D’s in Alabaster. You may have to eat fish like I did, but at least you’re in an exciting place.
You’re my princess. I miss my little girl with the long pony tail that I could never tie up right. I miss my little soccer girl who learned to be one of the best defenders ever. I miss my The Voice partner. I miss seeing you when you come in late from work to tell me about your awful experiences. I miss my princess.
I’m excited for this time of your life. Time to go but not yet time to leave. This next year will be one of the best of your life with new friends, new surroundings, and new experiences. In college, you will make the best friends of your life and create the best memories of your life. You will say that you miss Mom and Dad, but you really won’t - you’ll be too busy working hard and too excited about too many new people and activities. So I’m OK with all of that. I just miss my princess.
Keep having fun on your trip. Watch after your brother. Remember I love you. And have a Happy Birthday.
Love,
Dad"

Love your parents and your time with them. Never take your life for granted because people love you and cherish you from afar. Value where you are and where you've been because sometimes when you're looking back on it all you'll realize what you didn't fully appreciate things you should've.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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